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Roll to Build Strength


June 2013

After a workout, lots of athletes prop their tired legs on foam cylinders and roll away to release lactic acid and increase blood flow. Itís a great way to loosen up tissue and prevent soreness.

A foam roller can help build strength, too, notes Jennifer Earl-Boehm, athletic trainer and director of the athletic training education program at UW-Milwaukee.

"If you place your hands or feet on the roller to do a push-up, for example, you are really challenging your abdominal core muscles at the same time," she says. "This is great in the prevention of back and lower extremity injuries."

For strengthening work, start with three sets of 8 to 12 repetitions. If this seems too easy, increase the difficulty of the exercise.

Why does it work? "You strengthen muscles in a way that gets them used to working in a dynamic fashion. Making your strengthening exercises more difficult by creating an unstable surface is one way," Earl-Boehm explains.

Now thatís getting stronger without the heavy lifting!



This story ran in the June 2013 issue of: